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France's 33-6 victory over Australia on Saturday night has led to England being knocked out of the top four of the IRB's world rankings.
In any other year, England slipping from fourth to fifth would not carry any real significance.
But the seedings for the 2015 Rugby World Cup draw, which takes place in London on December 3, will be based on the world rankings.
England face Australia, South Africa and New Zealand over the next three weekends and must regain their spot in the top four if they are to be top seeds for their home tournament.
Ireland slipped a place to eighth following their defeat to South Africa, with Argentina moving up one spot on the back of their victory over Wales in Cardiff.
The top four in the world on December 3 will be the seeded teams in each World Cup group, with each pool then allocated one team from the second tier and one from the third.
If the draw was held now, England, Wales, and Ireland would all be in the second tier of nations along with Argentina. Ninth-placed Scotland would in the third tier with Samoa, Italy and Tonga.